Bottlenose dolphins in Bellacragher Bay, Co. Mayo..UPDATE

3rd May 2012 Report III, 03/05/12
Bottlenose dolphins still present up to 19:00 this evening according to local members Richard Creagh and Carol Loftus, who took some great photo ID images of these animals which we'll run through the Irish Bottlenose dolphin catalogue for matching.

Carol reports ...." They are still swimming at times in very shallow water close to the shore and then returning to deeper water and back again. We also observed the occasional leap out of the water. The water was choppy this evening but it was still very easy to spot the dolphins from the shoreline."

Report II, 03/05/12
The latest sighting report from early this morning (07:20am) from Richard Creagh confirms that this group of 5-7 bottlenose dolphins remain in Bellacragher Bay. The weather may not be as nice as yesterday, but still a wonderful opportunity to view this species at close quarters.

It's difficult to explain why they should spend so much time in such a bottleneck, but we recall a similar situation about a decade ago in the nearby Mullet peninsula, when a similar sized group of bottlenose remained in alarmingly shallow water for a number of days. They became known locally as the "Belmullet 6", and who knows may even be the same animals. Such were the circumstances that people had even planned a rescue attempt, which was never really necessary, as they clearly didn't need saving.

The consensus was that the "Belmullet 6" group were mating; something that may be easier if a female can be coralled into shallow waters. Not perhaps the most romantic approach, but it will be interesting to see if there is any evidence of this behaviour over the duration of this group's sojurn into the shallows of Bellacragher Bay.

Report I, 02/05/12
We have just received this report from a local IWDG member, Carol Loftus. This may be a good opportunity for anyone from Mayo with some free time to view bottlenose dolphins at close quarters without having to get out on a boat. It is clear from sightings reports to IWDG that today (2nd May), is the 3rd day that this group of 6-7 animals have been seen in this very sheltered bay at Bellacragher.



Report from Carol Loftus....

"We got some photographs today of the group of Bottlenose Dolphins that have set up temporary home in Bellacragher Bay between Mulranny and Ballycroy in Co. Mayo. We counted 6 individuals. They were swimming and tail slapping.

This is a very unusual sighting as locals say there have never been any reported sightings so far into the Bay of dolphins in their lifetimes. This part of the Bay is quite narrow and the dolphins can be seen easily from the road.

It was such a still day that and the dolphins so close that we could hear their blows as they swam close to the shore. This could be an ideal opportunity for IWDG in Mayo as the dolphins can be seen from the new Cycle route The Great Western Greenway with hundreds of cyclists going by every day!"



Sightings reports are being logged on www.iwdg.ie as usual, so you can keep track on them.

Thanks to Carol and Richard Creagh for keeping us posted

Pádraig Whooley
Sightings Co-ordinator